It’s surprising that customer centricity is such a buzzword these days. How did we lose focus on customers so much that paying attention to them became a major competitive advantage? Haven’t businesses always been centered on serving the customer?
No one is really to blame for this trend. In the last 10 years, we’ve been so inundated with digital disruption (another interesting buzzword), that we’ve potentially lost sight of what’s important.
In the B2B space, customer centricity came to the forefront as SaaS platforms became the dominant business model. Successful SaaS platform businesses are dependent on low-churn rates. As a result, these companies began to look for churn fighters, also known as customer success teams. Salesforce is really the model for creating a successful customer success team. The company’s “Customers for Life” team is arguably one of the largest in the industry today. But what most of us in B2B space have failed to recognize is that though the team was initially adopted to reduce churn, the success of the Customers for Life team is really in the evolution of its strategy from a reactive revenue protection to a proactive revenue acceleration.
“Through our values – trust, equality and customer success – comes innovation at scale!”- Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce)
So in a highly saturated martech world how can companies successfully replicate this success for this critical part of the organization?
I’ve learned a thing or two in my 20 years leading customer success teams at HP, Verizon and now Resonate. Here is my take on the 7 best practices for building an effective customer success strategy to drive revenue growth and accelerate value for the customer:
- A Customer Centric Strategy – Have a well-defined customer success management (CSM) methodology based on your target segment (large enterprise, SMB, etc.) and solution. Once you crystallize your CSM mission and strategy, create a process handbook and standard template to guide your company’s activities.
- Right Talent for the Job – Hire talent with the right skills and experience to lead projects for your customers and across your business units. The required skills should mirror your goals for your customers (i.e. adoption, implementation, business development, etc.)
- Simplify and Automate – Seek out systems and tools to automate tasks, reporting and customer analytics based on your model.
- Single Source of Truth – Have a single data source about the customer across all business units (data repository and data integrity).
- Quarterly Success Reviews – Review accounts or projects regularly (every 60 or 90 days) for solution adoption, progress and barriers so you can improve your CSM model and tools.
- Relationship is Everything – Establish strong relationships between your company’s decision makers and your customers.
- Demonstrable Loyalty – Drive customer to participate in marketing with testimonials. This is a great way to proactively gauge customer satisfaction and respond to issues before it’s too late. Unhappy customers will never be a reference.
In this era of customer centricity, we have the opportunity to re-establish the focus on providing value to customers.
Contact us to get started implementing a customer-centric approach to your marketing.